Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has two main aims:

  1. Optimising a website's structure so that it is easily indexed by search engines

  2. Optimising a website's content so that it is easily understood by search engines

Both of these optimisations will affect a website's ranking.

We make very sure that all of our websites provide the best possible platform for SEO and our Content Management System allows our customers full control over their own SEO.

We are often asked about SEO and for this reason offer some useful SEO tips (in no particular order) which just might help you rise up the Google rankings:

SEO Tips

First a bit of background.  We are talking about Google here as it is (at time of writing) the most important search engine.  Google, as everyone knows, provides lists of web pages when prompted by a user inputting a search term or terms.  These search results are either paid for by those who are displayed or not. 

The trick here is being as near to the top of the search results as possible while paying as little as possible to get there.

To get on Google's search results with little pain but some financial outlay just open a Google account and sign up for Adwords.  Or better still get an online marketing agency such as The Marketing Eye to do this for you.

To get on there for free and to rise up the rankings you need to understand how your page gets there in the first place and to work with this.

Google works by sending out automated programs that follow the links on web pages and record what they see, returning this data to a vast database.  The programs called "web spiders", or "spiders" for short, are a closely guarded secret but we can work out much of what they are doing by looking at what they produce in terms of how data is displayed in Google's search results.

  1. Make sure your website is indexed easily by Google's spiders.  In most cases get a respectable web design agency such as ourselves to build a site for you that doesn't stop the spiders in their tracks but if you are doing it yourself this means:

    - Avoid frames

    - Don't make a Flash based website without sufficient HTML behind it to be indexed.  Google's spiders currently cannot index Flash and it should be reserved for videos and showy widgets rather than important stuff like navigation links.

    - Use "alt" text for images and make sure that this properly describes the image and includes targeted keywords (see below) wherever possible

    - Avoid javascript based expanding menus since spiders will not use javascript and won't be able to follow them

    - Use a site map and ensure that this links to all pages.  Include a link to this on every page.

    - Avoid name=value pairs in your page links and if possible replace these with an apparent folder structure representing how content is contained within this site. 

    For instance:

    http://www.yourwebsite.com/?section=fish&&page=trout

    might become:

    http://www.yourwebsite.com/fish/trout.html

    You need Apache's mod-rewrite code or similar for this.

    - Use the <title> tag

    - Use the description <meta> tag.

    - Make proper use of headings and subheadings with each page having an <h1> tag.

  2. Use targeted keywords in the text of your website.  If you have a term that you want people to use to find you (a "targeted keyword" or "targeted keywords" if a phrase) then use it on your website.

    Many, many times we have been approached by people who can't understand why they are not coming up for a particular search term when typed into Google only to find that the term appears nowhere on their website!  Google cannot guess what terms you want to be found on, it's spiders need to find them and record them.

  3. Get links into your website from other websites, preferably those getting loads of visitors.  This is far and away the most important thing you can do. If you know of any place that will list you, get them to do it, the more popular the site the better.  Even if it is a local site like that of the church hall it doesn't matter, just get a listing. If this can be accompanied by some of your targeted keywords all the better.

    There are many sites out there where you can get yourself listed for free.  Online directories are a great place to get listed and perhaps the most important is DMOZ (http://www.dmoz.org).  Get yourself on it.

  4. Get yourself listed for free in the businesses section of Google Maps by using this option in your free Google account.

  5. Use the Google Webmaster tools that come with your free Google account.

  6. Get a Google Sitemap on your website.

  7. Use a robots.txt file on your website.

  8. Keep your page content fresh and update it regularly.  Get a CMS driven website to make this easier if you haven't got one already.

  9. Get a free blog and link it back to your website.  Make it interesting so people want to read it and most importantly link to it!  WordPress gets our recommendation: http://www.wordpress.org/

  10. When your site is ready submit it to the search engines.  Most sites have a free "add url" link where you can do this for free.  Be patient.  Sometimes it can take weeks to get indexed by the spiders after submission.

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  • Peripatus are flexible, personable, creative and very, very good value for money: a rare combination in a web development company.  We have used Peripatus to develop a number of websites for us including www.supportsolutions.co.ukwww.quirkyrides.com & www.englishidentity.co.uk. - Michael Patterson Support Solutions http://www.supportsolutions.co.uk
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